Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Happy 71st Birthday Dad (on Nov. 4th)!!! Best of all Dad's oldest friend Mike O'Rourke was in town to celebrate with us. And even better, Dad was wearing his shiny, gold, skull and bones pirate necklace from Halloween, which was 5 days earlier. He kept saying, "I wasn't sure about this when I first got it, but I think it's ok." He had been wearing it all week!

While everyone was doing Zumba, the four of us had our own little celebration with balloons and presents. Megan and I made Dad a birthday poster and bought him a shirt that says, "Who Farted" which he thought was a hoot, and Mike got Dad a CD of Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong.

Dad loves to open presents. Every year at Christmas, he would be so dramatic while opening his presents; shaking the box, guessing what it was, tearing each little corner of the wrapping... we usually ended up yelling, "Dad!!!!! Just open it!" So, of course that's what he did while opening his birthday gifts -- Lots of jokes and funny faces too. After unwrapping, we decorated Rice Krispy treats with icing and sprinkles and listened to the new CD.

After Zumba was over, the rest of the residents filed into the activity room to celebrate Dad's B-day. I've mentioned the birthdays at Whittier Place before, but I will reiterate how special the staff makes everyone feel on their birthday. They baked a chocolate cake with a layer of Bananas in the middle and then drew fish on the side of the cake with the colorful icing we brought. Dad had a blast!

When we all asked him to make a wish, he took so long to think of one and the Activities Coordinator was holding this heavy cake in front of him for at least 30 seconds while he thought of a wish. Then after figuring out his wish, he had trouble blowing out the candles, so he started to take his teeth out because he thought that would help the situation. Lucky for you.... I got it all on video but we're having a difficult time uploading it, so I will share it another time.....

On a side note, we're always told when dealing with Alzheimer's patients not to reason with them too much. Reasoning and Rationality don't really work with this disease... but there are exceptions to this rule. The day after Dad's B-day, I got a call from Whittier and he was anxious. Mostly, he wants a job. I agreed to help him find one, hoping to calm him down a bit, but he kept repeating how much he wanted a job, so I responded with this statement: "Well, I don't know if you know, but our country is in a recession and unemployment is very high. There are a lot of people who don't have a job and it's really hard to find one. So, we can try to get you one, but it might be more difficult than you think." And he said, "Oh, I didn't know that. Okay." It made perfect sense to him. Sometimes I think he just wants to be talked to like a normal person.

Remember when I said that Dad gained 4 pounds since he last went to the doctor and we didn't know why? Well, Tabitha (Dad's gf) has informed me that she gives him half her food because she never finishes it. Now we know.

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